A dream debut. Got to his century with exquisite cover drive off Dominic Cork. He didn’t even bother to see where the ball was headed; it had been caressed so persuasively to the boundary.
July 1996/136, 3rd Test vs England, Trent Bridge, Nottingham,
Two Test innings; two centuries. It had to go downhill from here, but this innings confirmed the surgical steel-through-butter genius of his offside play and that Lord’s was no flash in the pan.
Jan 1998/124, Independence Cup final ODI vs Pakistan, Dhaka,
Highest one-day score to date helped India chase down 316 to win, at the time a world record. Ganguly walked off with both man of-the-match and man of-the-series prizes.
May 1999/183, World Cup ODI vs Sri Lanka, Taunton,
When the world first saw the spectacular sight of the Ganguly overdrive; his last 83 came off 38 balls, with six 6s. Three balls were lost entirely. Sri Lanka might as well have tried to block a waterfall with teaspoons.
Nov 1999/153*, 3rd ODI vs New Zealand, Gwalior,
Annihilation. Traumatised Kiwi bowlers with frightening hitting. Unleashed his usual repertoire, and then pulled out a bagful that were entirely unknown to cricket. Last 53 runs off 23 balls.
Jan 2000/141, Carlton & United ODI vs Pakistan, Adelaide,
India had been having a miserable series until Ganguly unfurled one of the all-time great OD innings to help his team to a rare win. No one even came close to his score of 141 on a true pitch against good bowling.
Mar 2000/105*, 2nd ODI vs South Africa, Jamshedpur,
A match-winning knock in a low-scoring game where only one other player made it into the 40s. A classic middle-period Ganguly innings; not lightning fast, but nine 4s and four 6s testifying to his ability to penalise the bad ball.
Aug 2002/128, 3rd Test vs England, Headingley, Leeds,
Put on 96 runs off 67 balls with Tendulkar in bad light, savaged 23 off one Ashley Giles over. This was part of a 21-ball detonation from 80 to 128 that went like this: 4,4,.,2,4,.,.,1,3,1,4,6,6,4,1,1,1,1,4,.,1
Sep 2002/117, ODI vs England, R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo,
Better remembered for Sehwag’s pyrotechnic century. But once he was out Ganguly accelerated, his last 30-odd runs coming at almost 2.5 runs a ball. Sadly, the last time we’d see him go pedal to the metal against real opposition.
Nov 2003/144, 1st Test vs Australia, Brisbane,
The world’s best team went for his throat on a pitch they love. He slapped them right back for a 196-ball 144, a great Test innings and a captain’s knock—saved the match and laid the base for India’s later successes in the series.